An Assessment of the Effect of Education on Cultural Competency

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Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Biennial Convention


Purpose: Cultural diversity is a hallmark of American life, but diversity does not extend to the healthcare workforce. This makes a plan for cultural competency in nursing education imperative. Integration within a curriculum is the most frequently described method for teaching cultural competency, but few studies have been done to establish the effectiveness any method. Our school placed emphasis on development of cultural awareness as a first step to competency. We used a diversity expert to lead a class in self exploration of attitudes and stereotypes. It was popular but we did not know if this had real impact on cultural awareness.

Methods: A simple pretest-post test design study to test cultural competency was implemented. The Cross Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI) (Kelley and Meyers, 1987) was used to measure cultural awareness and was administered to students in an introductory course. Cultural considerations were imbedded within the remainder of the curriculum and in clinical experiences. As seniors students took the CCAI again and a paired t test was done to compare aggregate mean scores.

Results: The final N for the study was 81 and results revealed significant increases in scores for emotional resilience, perceptual acuity and personal autonomy. Male students increased scores in three of four subscales while female students improved in two. Correlations were calculated for age, gender and living abroad with the mean change in CCAI scores, but only a weak positive correlation between age and emotional resilience was found.

Conclusion: The results indicate an increase in cultural awareness and the subscale increases indicate that students are less frustrated, more self confident in communication, and less threatened by contact with those that were different.